By Ryan Alfieri, Editor
The Jets are one of the few teams that have build their defense from the outside-in with the secondary being the heart and soul of the defense. However, while Revis and Cromartie make up perhaps the best corner tandem in the NFL, the safety position has been in flux after being picked on by tight ends and slot receivers.
Here is our final training camp preview (albeit a bit late) of the Jets’ secondary:
Cornerback: Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson (slot)
Safety: LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell
Ellis Lankster, Antonio Allen, Ryan Steed, Donnie Fletcher, Julian Posey, Donnie Fletcher
Strength(s): Obviously, Darrelle Revis is the best in the business at what he does and makes everyone around him better because of the match-ups he creates. Cromartie has steadily improved and is one of the better man-corners in the game, even if he looks average at time playing next to Revis.
With these two guys in the fold, the Jets can go into just about any game an not worry about opposing wide receivers having a match-up advantage against their corners.
Weakness(es): Because the Jets are so strong at outside corner, opposing teams picked on the Jets in the middle of the field, where the slow, nonathletic safeties were unable to answer faster and bigger tight ends.
The Jets answered by signing two experienced veterans in LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell. While both players are capable at playing at a high level, especially in run support, neither player is an ideal coverage you would want to match-up with the Patriots’ tight end. In addition, Landry’s health has been anything but consistent and he could always miss significant time. While both players could turn out be huge upgrades, for now, there are too many uncertainties to consider the safety situation “fixed”.
Also, while Kyle Wilson made strides at the slot corner position, he still gave up way too many completions. He will need to continue to improve in order to give the Jets what they are looking for out of the former first-round pick.
Like most of the units on this year’s Jets team, there are a lot of uncertainties that could also yield terrific results. The success of this unit will hinge on whether or not the veteran safeties can stay healthy and produce at a high level.
If they can do that, the Jets could have themselves perhaps the best secondary in the NFL. Otherwise, they could be looking at the exact same situation as last year.